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The Iconography of Black Consciousness
“When you say, ‘Black is Beautiful,’ what in fact you are saying . . . is: Man, you are okay as you are; begin to look upon yourself as a human being.” With such statements, Stephen Biko became the voice of Black Consciousness. And with Biko’s brutal death in the custody of the South African police, he became a martyr, an enduring symbol of the horrors of apartheid. Through the lens of visual culture, Biko’s Ghost reveals how the man and the ideology he promoted have profoundly influenced liberation politics and race discourse—in South Africa and around the globe—ever since.
Tracing the linked histories of Black Consciousness and its most famous proponent, Biko’s Ghost explores the concepts of unity, ancestry, and action that lie at the heart of the ideology and the man. It challenges the dominant historical view of Black Consciousness as ineffectual or racially exclusive, suppressed on the one side by the apartheid regime and on the other by the African National Congress.
Engaging theories of trauma and representation, and icon and ideology, Shannen L. Hill considers the martyred Biko as an embattled icon, his image portrayals assuming different shapes and political meanings in different hands. So, too, does she illuminate how Black Consciousness worked behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, a decade of heightened popular unrest and state censorship. She shows how—in streams of imagery that continue to multiply nearly forty years on—Biko’s visage and the ongoing life of Black Consciousness served as instruments through which artists could combat the abuses of apartheid and unsettle the “rainbow nation” that followed.
Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade
In 1978, Patrick McNaughton witnessed a bird dance masquerade in the small town of Dogoduman. He was so affected by this performance that its dazzling artistic power has never left him. As he revisits that very special evening in A Bird Dance near Saturday City, McNaughton carefully considers the components of the performance, its pace, the performers, and what the entire experience means for understandings of Bamana and West African aesthetics and culture. The performance of virtuoso dancer Sidi Ballo becomes McNaughton's vehicle for understanding the power of individuals in African art and the power of aesthetics as a cultural phenomenon. Topics such as what makes art effective, what makes it "good," how production is wrapped in individual virtuosity, and what individual artistry suggests about society reveal how individuals work together to create the indelible experience of outstanding performance. This exuberant and captivating book will influence views of society, culture, art, history, and their makers in West Africa for years to come.
Vol. 1 (2009) through current issue
Black Camera is devoted to the study and documentation of the black cinematic experience and is the only scholarly film journal of its kind in the United States. It regularly features essays and interviews that engage film in social as well as political distribution, and production of film in local, regional, national, and transnational settings and environments.
an Egyptian Sudanese conscript battalion with the French Army in Mexico, 1863-1867, and its survivors in subsequent African history
For several years, the armies of Napoleon III deployed some 450 Muslim Sudanese slave soldiers in Veracruz, the port of Mexico City. As in the other case of Western hemisphere military slavery (the West India Regiments, a British unit in existence 1795-1815), the Sudanese were imported from Africa in the hopes that they would better survive the tropical diseases that so terribly afflicted European soldiers. In both cases, the Africans did indeed fulfill these expectations. The mixture of cultures embodied by this event has piqued the interest of several historians, so it is by no means unknown. Hill and Hogg provide a particularly thorough, if unimaginative, account of this exotic interlude, explaining its background, looking in detail at the battle record in Mexico, and figuring out who exactly made up the battalion. Much in their account is odd and interesting, for example, the Sudanese superiority to Austrian troops and their festive nine-day spree in Paris on the emperor's tab. The authors also assess the episode's longer-term impact on the Sudan, showing that the veterans of Mexico, having learnt much from their extended exposure to French military practices, rose quickly in the ranks, then taught these methods to others.
Colonialism, Immigration, and Transnationalism
"[W]ithout a doubt one of the most important studies so far completed on literature in French grounded in the experiences of migrants of sub-Saharan African origin." -- Alec Hargreaves, Florida State University
France has always hosted a rich and vibrant black presence within its borders. But recent violent events have raised questions about France's treatment of ethnic minorities. Challenging the identity politics that have set immigrants against the mainstream, Black France explores how black expressive culture has been reformulated as global culture in the multicultural and multinational spaces of France. Thomas brings forward questions such as -- Why is France a privileged site of civilization? Who is French? Who is an immigrant? Who controls the networks of production? Black France poses an urgently needed reassessment of the French colonial legacy.
Legal and Political Pluralism in Eritrea
In Eritrea, state, traditional, and religious laws equally prevail, but any of these legal systems may be put into play depending upon the individual or individuals involved in a legal dispute. Because of conflicting laws, it has been difficult for Eritreans to come to a consensus on what constitutes their legal system. In Blood, Land, and Sex, Lyda Favali and Roy Pateman examine the roles of the state, ethnic groups, religious groups, and the international community in several key areas of Eritrean law -- blood feud or murder, land tenure, gender relations (marriage, prostitution, rape), and female genital surgery. Favali and Pateman explore the intersections of the various laws and discuss how change can be brought to communities where legal ambiguity prevails, often to the grave harm of women and other powerless individuals. This significant book focuses on how Eritrea and other newly emerging democracies might build pluralist legal systems that will be acceptable to an ethnically and religiously diverse population.
Issues in Conventional Boundaries and Ideological Frontiers
This book compromises 26 well-researched essays in honour of Professor Verkijika G. Fanso, who retired in 2011 after over 36 years of distinguished service at universities in Cameroon. Contributors include colleagues, former students and close collaborators in Cameroon and beyond. Contributions cover a wide range of issues related to the contested histories, politics and practices of boundaries and frontiers in Africa. These are themes on which Fanso has researched, published and taught extensively, and earned international recognition as a leading scholar. The book explores, inter alia, indigenous and endogenous practices of boundary making in Africa; as well as colonial and contemporary traditions, practices and conflicts on and around frontiers. In particular focus, are disputed colonial boundaries between Cameroon and its neighbours. Issues of intra- and inter-disciplinary frontiers, politics and cultures are also addressed. The volume is crowned by a farewell valedictory lecture by Fanso. Like Fanso and his rich repertoire of publications, this bumper harvest of essays is without doubt, truly immortalising.
Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia
Romo examines ideas of race in key cultural and public arenas through a close analysis of medical science, the arts, education, and the social sciences. As she argues, although Bahian racial thought came to embrace elements of Afro-Brazilian culture, the presentation of Bahia as a living museum threatened by social change portrayed Afro-Bahian culture and modernity as necessarily at odds. Romo's finely tuned account complicates our understanding of Brazilian racial ideology and enriches our knowledge of the constructions of race across Latin America and the larger African diaspora. Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia has built its economy around attracting international tourists to what is billed as the locus of Afro-Brazilian culture and the epicenter of Brazilian racial harmony. Chronicling the period from the abolition of slavery in 1888 to the start of Brazil's military regime in 1964, Romo uncovers how the state's nonwhite majority moved from being a source of embarrassment to being a critical component of Bahia's identity.
The Tabom, Slavery, Dissonance of Memory, Identity, and Locating Home